I am still off working on new stuff — and, yes, progress is being made.
That means you get old stuff. Not too old, in this case from February 19, 2012.
I got a review copy of this collection through LibraryThing.
Review: Deep Black Beyond, Annie Bellet, 2011.
Bellet is a writer who has published in traditional venues, though only “No Spaceships Go” seems to be a reprint, so this set of five stories is free from amateurish mistakes.
Unfortunately, for me, most of these stories never rose above the generic and two, honestly, puzzled me.
Despite a concluding revelation of interstellar intrigue and revenge, which should be more interesting than it is, “Pele’s Bee-Keeper”, with its space shuttle crash, possibly by sabotage, and the rescue of its protagonist by a mysterious woman, never grabbed me.
“The Memory of Bone” has a central idea, which if, taken seriously, has a goofiness which reminds me of a bad pulp story from the 1930s. I suspect its narrator, a spaceship captain in the brig and on her way to a court martial, is of the unreliable sort. Another peculiar story was “Beneath the Ice and Still”. Involving a frozen maiden found by a man in the ice of an alien world, it’s more like a setup for a story that never comes. I suspect another crazy protagonist.
“No Spaceships Go”, with its young lovers watching rocket ship launches in a dusty New Mexico, reminded me a bit of Ray Bradbury without the lyricism. But the complications of their story were mostly of the usual sort in these stories – class and the plans of parents, and the one somewhat unique complication, that they are gay teenage boys, didn’t do anything to elevate the story into memorable territory.
However, with “The Light of the Earth as Seen from Tartarus”, Bellet escapes the gravity well of the generic or vague. This story of a dying billionaire paying for the resurrection of two brothers’ spaceship design and a trip, dead or alive, to Pluto was emotional and moving and realistic in not only its technical details but the human details of remorse and redemption and perseverance.